Guerrero: Conflict at Mine of Canadian Company Torex Gold Resources

February 17, 2018

GoldPhoto @ Proceso

Since November 3rd, 2017, according to information from Proceso, a group of workers of the Media Luna mining company, part of the Canadian company Torex Gold Resources, have been on strike to “demand the change of ownership of their collective work contract, which is currently held by the Confederation of Workers of Mexico (CTM in its Spanish acronym).” The dissatisfied workers would like to join “the Napoleon Gomez Urrutia Union.”

Several newspapers reported that due to the problem that exists between the quarry workers and the mining company, three murders of employees of the mining company Media Luna have occurred to date. First on November 18, 2017 “Victor and Marcelino Sahuanitla were murdered and on January 24, Quintin Salgado, one of the leaders of the strike against the mining company Media Luna, was assassinated when he left his house in Nuevo Balsas, municipality of Cocula in Guerrero.”

According to the newspaper La Jornada de Guerrero, the national leaders of the National Mining Union, Sergio Beltran Reyes and Benito Melo Gonzalez, later denounced Salgado’s murder; “Comrade Quintin Salgado of the Media Luna mine, was cowardly murdered by the CTM of Guerrero and organized crime and we hope that the government of Canada, which is more interested in solving this situation, can put a stop to this company which, in addition to allowing them to take away our wealth, our authorities also allow you to assault, murder and violate the rule of law in our country, our workers and our organization Miners of Mexico.”

On January 27th, state and federal agents as well as soldiers took control of the facilities of the Canadian mining company Media Luna and practically broke the strike that the workers held. The military operation resulted in “the release of the security chief of the mining company Media Luna and seven workers who had allegedly been retained by the workers,” Proceso reported.

In a statement, the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA in its Spanish acronym) mentioned that “this problem has a framework, and it is the current federal and state policy of delivery of resources and unrestricted and servile support to domestic and foreign companies that impose this type of exploitation, affecting the territories irreversibly in environmental, social and health terms. Once installed, the companies, as part of the multiple devastation they generate, place their local workers in conditions of intensive exploitation, violating their rights with government support. It is important to point out that the above once again highlights:

  1. The clear link between these companies and the criminal groups’ “gunmen” that they finance for their protection, and
  2. That at the request of a transnational company, the state sends its army and its police not to put the project at risk with greater direct foreign investment in the state of Guerrero.”

It should be recalled that, since March 2016, “Proceso warned about the risk of mining projects promoted by the government of Hector Astudillo in a strip of the state where the narcos [drug cartels] control everything.”

For more information in Spanish:

Quintín Salgado Salgado fue ultimado a balazos en las inmediaciones de su casa en Cocula, Guerrero. (Regeneración, 24 de enero de 2018)

Empleados de firma canadiense, hermanos asesinados en Guerrero: Sindicato Minero (La Jornada, 23 de noviembre de 2017)

Asesinan a prestador de servicios de Media Luna que simpatizaba con los paristas (La Jornada de Guerrero, 25 de enero de 2018)

Rescatan 8 personas privada de su libertad en Minera Media Luna (Debate, 27 de enero de 2018)

Ejército y agentes toman el control de minera Media Luna en Guerrero (Proceso, 27 de enero de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: ONG emite Acción Urgente para proteger Evelia Bahena García, Diana Coralina Brito y Félix Rodríguez Navarrete (10 de agosto de 2015)

Guerrero/México/América Latina: Graves cuestionamientos a Goldcorp y empresas mineras canadienses (29 de abril de 2014)

Chiapas/México/América Latina: Violación de derechos por empresas mineras (25 de abril de 2012)

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National: Biodiversity Law – Protection for Megaprojects (Greenpeace)

February 17, 2018

GreenpeacePhoto @ Greenpeace México

Civil society groups and experts have expressed their grave concerns about the Biodiversity Law, which, according to Sin Embargo MX, was approved “in a rush” by 88 senators on December 15th, “in the middle of another controversial discussion: the Law of Internal Security.” The unexpected and surprising approval of the said Law has caused controversies in several points highlighted in multiple public denunciations by civil society.

In the first place, Greenpeace Mexico strongly criticized the fact that “this approval was carried out in a surprising manner and without the broad consultation demanded by society, as mandated by human rights standards.” In addition, the representative in Mexico of the Center for Biodiversity, Alejandro Olivera Bonilla, highlighted that the main promoter of the Biodiversity Law, Senator Ninfa Salinas Sada, of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM), is responsible for the promotion of extractive projects throughout the country. He stated in an interview with Sin Embargo MX that, “we detected that there is a conflict of interest, given that Senator Ninfa Salinas Sada has an interest in open-pit metallurgical mining projects in Mexico. Based on the contents of the initiative, such as the weakening of protected natural areas (PNA) to allow this type of activities that are the most destructive, this conflict of interest is evident.”

Greenpeace Mexico identified four key points as to why this new law would not represent protection, but rather a threat to biodiversity in Mexico:

  • “The limited protection of genetic resources and their commercialization, which could exacerbate conflicts associated with the access and distribution of benefits to local communities or indigenous peoples;
  • The lack of clarity in terms of consultation and citizen participation, because the spaces proposed in this sense are poorly designed and do not fulfill the function of being real mechanisms of deliberation;
  • That in its transitory articles there are exceptions that open the possibility for the commercial use of marine mammals;
  • In addition, the prohibition of high-impact activities, such as mining and power generation is not established in protected natural areas, so that the new law, instead of protecting biodiversity, protects the interests of the proponents [of megaprojects].”

For more information in Spanish:

Ley de Biodiversidad es un regalo para la minería y el fracking, y un atentado a la ecología, alertan (SinEmbargo MX, 5 de febrero de 2018)

Biodiversidad o minería, ¿dilema? (El Universal, 3 de febrero de 2018)

Madrugan Grupo Salinas y Partido Verde con Ley de Biodiversidad (Greenpeace México, 19 de diciembre de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Acacoyagua prohibe la actividad minera en su territorio (22 de enero de 2018)

Nacional: Más aprobaciones controvertidas de Leyes Mexicanas (20 de dieciembre de 2017)

Nacional: Senado aprueba Ley de seguridad interior (16 de diciembre de 2017)


Oaxaca/Chiapas: SEZ Exclusive Jurisdiction of Federal Powers

February 17, 2018

SEZPhoto @ El Universal

On October 20th, 2017, several newspapers reported that the real estate of the Special Economic Zone of Puerto Chiapas, passed into the Federation.

The same thing has happened in the case in Oaxaca after the LXIII Legislature of the State Congress approved by majority vote the decree requested by Governor Alejandro Murat such that “consent is granted so that houses, buildings or any other construction (the real estate) that will be part of the special economic zone of Salina Cruz, be considered exclusive jurisdiction of the federal powers.” According to NVI News this means that the SEZ will be “protected by the Army or the police federal.”

On January 31st, Governor Alejandro Murat, the municipality of Salina Cruz and the Head of the Federal Authority for the Development of Special Economic Zones signed the Collaboration Agreement for the Operation of the SEZ of Salina Cruz, Oaxaca at a meeting.

For more information in Spanish:

Recibe Congreso del Estado decreto del Ejecutivo Estatal para ZEE (Congreso del Estado de Oaxaca, 31 de enero de 2018)

Desde hoy, inmuebles de la ZEE a manos de la Federación (Oaxaca Político, 20 de octubre de 2017)

Plantean aprovechar Zonas Económicas Especiales (Cuarto Poder, 5 de febrero de 2018)

Firma de Convenio de Colaboración para la Operación de la ZEE de Salina Cruz, Oaxaca. (Autoridad Federal para el Desarrollo de las Zonas Económicas Especiales, 31 de enero de 2018)

Meade promete impulsar Zonas Económicas Especiales de Oaxaca (Excélsior, 2 de febrero de 2018)

A manos de la Federación inmuebles de la ZEE (Diario de Chiapas, 20 de octubre de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: EPN declara Zonas Económicas Especiales en Oaxaca y Yucatán (20 de diciembre de 2017)

Chiapas: Otros Mundos alerta sobre los riesgos que implicará la ZEE de Puerto Chiapas (7 de diciembre de 2017)

Nacional/Chiapas: Más Zonas Económicas Especiales (4 de septiembre de 2017)

Oaxaca: Anuncian campaña contra las ZEE (30 de junio de 2017)

Oaxaca: Se amparan pueblos del Istmo contra Zona Económica Especial (ZEE) (23 de marzo de 2017)

Oaxaca: comunidades del Istmo presentan amparo ante la ZEE (17 de noviembre de 2016)

Nacional: Nombran a titular de Zonas Económicas Especiales (15 de julio de 2016)

Nacional: El Senado aprueba la Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (ZEE) (15 de abril de 2016)

México / Nacional: Diputados aprueban Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (18 de diciembre 2015)


National/International: PBI Publishes “Defending Life” Report

December 28, 2017

PBI.jpg(@PBI)

Peace Brigades International (PBI) published a new publication “Defending Life: People who Defend Land, Territory and the Environment at Risk”, which collects testimonies and analysis that highlight the same reality: the extreme vulnerability of the defenders of the land and the environment in Mexico and the world.

For more information in Spanish:

Defender la Vida: personas defensoras de la tierra, el territorio y el medioambiente en riesgo (PBI, noviembre de 2017)

Defensor ambiental, labor de alto riesgo (El Universal, 6 de diciembre de 2017)

México debe actuar urgentemente para proteger a las personas defensoras del medio ambiente (Global Witness, 6 de diciembre de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ: 

Oaxaca: V Encuentro de defensores y defensoras Comunitarias (29 de noviembre de 2017)

Nacional : informes de organizaciones de derechos humanos contrastan con avances señalados en el Quinto Informe de Gobierno (7 de septiembre de 2017)

México: Amnistía Internacional presenta nueva campaña mundial en contra de la ola de ataques a defensores y defensoras (30 de mayo de 2017)

Nacional: Relator Especial de la ONU visita a México para evaluar la situación de Derechos Humanos (1 de febrero de 2017)


Chiapas: Otros Mundos Warns about the Risk Implications of the SEZ for Puerto Chiapas

December 27, 2017

SEZ.png

In an article published on December 1st, the civil organization Otros Mundos shared information on the implications and risks that would result from the imposition of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) on the Chiapas coast, describing it as a “kind of walled city, liberated territory to transnational companies.” Among other elements to take into account, they denounced that “the companies that are installed in the SEZ will not pay taxes and will not do so for the use, enjoyment or exploitation of public domain assets of the Federation, which will mean decreasing public revenues that could be destined to education, health, among other issues. Poverty will increase and the cost of living of the region will become more expensive. Its operation will involve an excess of energy consumption and also water that will compete with the communities and the surrounding region. Their solid and liquid waste will place in crisis not only the local fishing activity but La Encrucijada Reserve that aims to protect the mangrove forest.”

For more information in Spanish:

La Zona Económica Especial de Puerto Chiapas (Otros Mundos, 1ero de diciembre de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional: El Senado aprueba la Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (ZEE) (15 de abril de 2016)

México / Nacional: Diputados aprueban Ley Federal de Zonas Económicas Especiales (18 de diciembre 2015)

 


Chiapas: MODEVITE Mobilizes in Defense of Mother Earth and Self-Determination

November 24, 2017

MODEVITEAuthorities from La Candelaria, Municipality of San Cristobal de Las Casas. Photo @: SIPAZ

On November 20th, thousands of indigenous people grouped in the Movement in Defense of Life and the Territory (Modevite in its Spanish acronym) mobilized in 11 municipalities and an ejido of Chiapas in defense of Mother Earth, for a dignified life and to demand respect for the free self-determination of indigenous peoples. In a statement, they explained: “We are one people who today want to express ourselves in each of the 12 fronts where we are. We denounce the constant threat of transnational extractive megaprojects and demand our right to the self-determination of peoples, in order to change the outdated and oppressive system that governs us.”

The event was called on 107 years of the beginning of the Mexican Revolution, and stressed that “the marginalization and misery of our peoples persist; violence is the daily bread and insecurity is what is breathed in the environment. Coupled with this, the colorful circus of political parties divides us, and they take advantage of our poverty” while governments at all levels “are accomplices of dispossession, abuses, violence and injustice.”

For this reason they propose “creating another system that promotes the community rather than individuality, that looks at the earth as a Mother and not as merchandise, that embraces the cultural diversity rooted in the spirituality of our ancestors to make way for the reconstruction of the fabric of social community”. They intend to promote “community governments that renew social relations among indigenous peoples, mestizos, diverse religions, adults and youth; community governments that renew politics by exercising the right to elect the authorities according to the indigenous normative systems of each people, to combat corruption and division of bad governments and thus ensure the defense of our Mother Earth and community harmony.”

More specifically, they asked the authorities to respond positively to the requests presented by the Community Government Commissions of the municipalities of Chilon and Sitala to the Electoral and Citizen Participation Institute (IEPC in tis Spanish acronym) of Chiapas, on November 17th for that they can govern themselves according to their own indigenous normative system.

For more information in Spanish:

Indígenas de Chiapas denuncian amenaza constante de megaproyectos y ambición de trasnacionales (Proceso 20 de noviembre de 2017)

MODEVITE se expresa en sus 12 frentes y afirma su apoyo a los municipios de Chilón y Sitalá en su búsqueda del gobierno comunitario (MODEVITE 20 de noviembre de 2017)

Pronunciamiento de las Comisiones de Gobierno Comunitario de Chilón y Sitalá (Boletín de prensa del MODEVITE 18 de noviembre de 2017)

Comisiones de Sitalá y Chilón exigen al IEPC respetar su derecho al Gobierno Comunitario, sin partidos políticos (Anuncio de Conferencia de prensa del MODEVITE 17 de noviembre de 2017)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Pronunciamiento de MOVEDITE ante las campañas políticas anticipadas (22 de agosto de 2017)

Chiapas : Culmina peregrinación de 12 días del Movimiento de Defensa de la Vida y el Territorio en San Cristóbal de Las Casas (29 de noviembre de 2016)


National/International: Visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to Mexico Ends

November 23, 2017

UNPhoto: @frayba

From November 5th to 17th, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, indigenous leader of the Philippines, made an official visit to Mexico, which included the capitals of the states of Guerrero, Chiapas and Chihuahua. She met with more than 200 representatives of 23 indigenous peoples, civil organizations defending their rights and officials at all levels.

At the end of his visit, she declared that “the current inadequate legal recognition of indigenous peoples as holders of rights, together with structural discrimination, are at the basis of all the issues and concerns” in the areas “lands and territories; autonomy, self-determination and political participation; self-ascription of indigenous peoples; access to justice; violence and impunity; the right to determine their development priorities; consultation and free, prior and informed consent; economic, social and cultural rights, and the particular situation of specific sectors of indigenous peoples.” While acknowledging “Mexico’s support for advancing the indigenous agenda in international forums,” “this commitment must be coherent and should be reflected in the application of these standards in Mexico.”

On the controversial issue of the consultation, she said that “even in the absence of national legislation on this issue, Mexico already has the obligation to consult indigenous peoples on any activity or legislative or administrative measures that could affect them according to the standards of the ILO Convention 169, the Inter-American jurisprudence and the UN Declaration. The adoption of specific legislation is not the only mechanism to apply the right to consultation and the fact that there is no single model for consultation should also be taken into account, since each indigenous people has its own authorities and decision-making processes.”

The rapporteur also stressed that “the initiatives of indigenous peoples in the area of ​​autonomy and self-government should enjoy greater recognition, and be recognized and incorporated into the overall political structure of the country. In addition to self-government, indigenous peoples have the right to participate fully, if they so wish, in the political life of the country. I have seen some positive developments that could facilitate the political participation of indigenous peoples in this area, such as the possibility of registering independent candidacies.”

For more information in Spanish:

Relatora de la ONU constata violaciones a derechos de indígenas en Chiapas (Proceso, 15 de noviembre de 2017)

Declaración de cierre de Misión a México (Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, ONU, 17 de noviembre de 2017)

Discriminación indígena persiste por falta de voluntad política: ONU (La Jornada, 17 de noviembre de 2017)

Indígenas no son consultados sobre megaproyectos que afectan su territorio en México: ONU (Aristegui Noticias, 17 de noviembre de 2017)

Relatora Especial sobre Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas de la ONU visita Guerrero (Boletín de prensa, Tlachinollan, Guerrero, 14 de noviembre de 2017)

Pueblos indígenas presentan recomendaciones ante ONU (Boletín de prensa, Chiapas,15 de noviembre de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Nacional – México: Visita de la Relatora especial de la ONU sobre derechos de los pueblos indígenas (8 de noviembre de 2017)